As an American citizen, I’m used to signing my life away on the dotted line. It’s an unavoidable hurdle required before anything truly fun. Imagine my surprise when, after nine months of crisscrossing Europe, I realized I had signed less than three liability releases, and all of them within the United Kingdom.
My guide for the Camino del Rey in Malaga, known as “the most dangerous walkway in the world,” led me to the trailhead with nothing more than a smile. I signed nothing official in order to rent my Barcelona apartment with locals for 4 months — I simply paid the most responsible flatmate each month, who then took care of the rent. Even in Germany, famous for its national love of rules and organization, I clambered into the ersatz labyrinth of Zur Wilden Renate with nothing more than a word of caution to guide me. The experience within was reminiscent of the Tactile Dome in San Francisco’s Exploratorium, for which I vividly remember being required to sign a second waiver in order to enter.